Saturday, August 4, 2018

Recent Acquisitions to My Library

The most recent issue of the Civil War Monitor magazine listed several historians' favorite books about Gettysburg. One that appears on several lists was The Color of Courage: Gettysburg's Forgotten History, Immigrants, Women, and African Americans in the Civil War Defining Battle by Margaret S. Creighton. I have seen this work at different book stores and at historic sites, but with a number of Gettysburg books already on my shelves, I did not have an urgency to add another. However, after attending the Gettysburg College Civil War Institute back in June, I came across a few of the town's intriguing social history stories while walking around and reading a number of wayside panels and roadside markers. Interested in learning more, this book seemed like an excellent opportunity to do so. 

Braxton Bragg: The Most Hated Man of the Confederacy by Earl Hess is a book that I've had on my wish list since it was published a couple of years ago. Bragg's previous two volume biography is often the butt of jokes in Civil War circles. Having a different author for each volume lends itself to the thought that a historian can only stand so much of Bragg before calling it quits. Apparently with this new biography Hess provides a balanced look at Bragg's service and leadership, taking into account his personal life and its influence on this thoughts and actions. Curious to learn about Hess's sources and his interpretation, I'm looking forward to viewing this Army of Tennessee historical pariah from a new perspective.

The John Brown shelf in my library just grew by another volume with my purchase of Five for Freedom: The African American Soldiers in John Brown's Army by Eugene L. Meyer. Recent individual biographies on John Brown's raiders John Cook and John Anthony Copeland, both by Steven Lubet, are bringing the stories of Brown's men more into focus. The five African American men covered in this work all have fascinating life stories and I'm looking forward to learning more about them. Osborne Anderson, John Anthony Copeland, Dangerfield Newby, Shields Green, and Lewis Leary all had lots to lose with their participation in the Harpers Ferry raid, but made the attempt anyway. The fact that, of the five, only Osborne Anderson escaped, shows their sacrifice in their effort to end slavery.

I read Tiya Miles's book The House on Diamond Hill, about Cherokee Joseph Vann's slaveholding plantation in Georgia a few years ago and was fascinated by this racially complex story. Marginalized Native Americans owning enslaved African Americans is a complicated story that she helped me sort out. In Ties that Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom, Miles seeks to teach us more about the the black and red dynamic of slaveholding and family.

Although I moved from Kentucky just over three years ago, my interest in that state's history endures. Home Rule: Households, Manhood, and National Expansion on the Eighteenth Century Kentucky Frontier by Honor Sachs looks to provide further evidence to rather recent interpretations about the influence of Kentucky's frontier experience as a model for other states in westward expansion. Often at the expense of women, slaves, the poor and less established, a white masculine patriarchal dominance established a sense of order on the turbulent and sometimes dangerous frontier. 

I've been seeking to learn about the experiences of white officers who led black troops during the Civil War for quite some time. Thank God My Regiment an African One: The Civil War Diary of Colonel Nathan W. Daniels, edited by C. P. Weaver, examines the experiences of a commander of the 2nd Louisiana Native Guards, a regiment made up of free men of color from New Orleans and the Pelican State. I'm interested to see how Daniels's account is similar and different from those of more well known commanders like Thomas Wentworth Higginson's book and Robert Gould Shaw's collection of letters.

No comments:

Post a Comment